Wendy Reuer, Published June 11 2013
Boat launch sites limited on lakes Sallie and MelissaDETROIT LAKES, Minn. – Places for launching boats will be limited this summer in an effort to stop the spread of invasive species in the waters of Lake Melissa and Lake Sallie near here.
At the request of more than 50 members of the Lake Melissa + Sallie Improvement Association who attended Monday night’s Lake View Township meeting, boat launches at seven common areas on the two lakes will be closed this summer.
One boat launch area at the state Department of Natural Resources sites on Lake Melissa and Lake Sallie each will remain open.
In exchange for limiting the boat launch areas, members of the Lake Melissa + Sallie Improvement Association will volunteer at the open sites to help educate the public about how to prevent the spread of invasive water species such as zebra mussels.
Lakes across Minnesota have been fighting the spread of zebra mussels, a hard-shelled clam-looking creature that can quickly multiply and attach to hard surfaces, clogging up the waterways, and boats, anchors and chains.
The seven common areas – six on Lake Melissa and one on Lake Sallie – will still be open to the public for family activities such as picnicking and swimming, said Lake View Township Chairman David Knopf.
“The public needs to be able to use the lakes,” Knopf said. “We sort of agreed (with the association). It was the proper thing to do to help stop the spread of those invasive species.”
Lake Melissa + Sallie Improvement Association President Mary Ann Bond said members wanted to limit the public boat launching areas to help control invasive species before they become a pandemic.
“The only way to control it is to keep it out of your lakes in the first place,” Bond said.
Knopf said there have been no reports of zebra mussels at either lake so far. Officials monitor the lake for all invasive species.
The township agreed to limit the launch areas last year, but it was tough to recruit the needed volunteers, Bond said.
But this year, 19 association members have already signed up to help educate the public on weekends at the DNR sites, and more are expected to help out, she said.
Bond said even residents on the two lakes will need to launch their boats from the DNR sites.
About 400 homes are located on Lake Sallie and Lake Melissa, Bond said. The association boasts more than 200 members.
The open boat launch site at Lake Sallie is near the fish hatchery on the northeast side of the lake.
The boat launch on Lake Melissa is on the east side of the lake, across from the Flea Market on County Highway 17.